Washington, D.C., 31 August 2022 - A multinational team of experts met at the National Defense University (NDU) in Washington, D.C., from 29-31 August to analyze and discuss developments in drone technology and artificial intelligence. Leadership at NDU welcomed the team and took part in the workshop. Under the auspices of the Partnership for Peace Consortium and the Geneva Centre for Security Policy, the team detailed emerging technology risks posed by drones and converging technologies such as AI. As seen across many regions, increasing capacity and lowered costs for semi-autonomous weapons systems are progressing rapidly. The use of relatively low-cost, weaponized drones in today’s conflicts has already altered the battlefield, with myriad effects for present-day conflicts, future planning, research and development, and acquisition strategy.
A new age of drone warfare appears to be emerging as the technology becomes ever more sophisticated and barriers to entry are lowered. The team noted that the uses of large numbers of drones, operating in coordination -- known as ‘swarming’ -- could also have profound tactical and strategic effects. Some states are also seeking to develop cooperative autonomy in drone technologies, but many uncertainties remain. The team suggests that defense practitioners and elected officials further support multinational research into the risks and benefits of drones and their likely usage by state and non-state actors.
You can learn more about the Emerging Security Challenges Working Group here.